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Win tickets to see Kathy Griffin from The New Gay!

Ideas, Place »

c. Julie Michelle (http://iliveheresf.com/?p=1988)

“I also want to go to Boystown while I’m here,” was my next suggestion.

“The neighborhood has changed,” Adia, a Boystown resident, told me in a cautious, you-better-watch-out tone.

“I know,” I replied. “It’s in every local paper.” On Independence Day eve, a man was stabbed on Halsted right between Roscoe Street and Belmont. The incident involved a horde of African-Americans, dashing and shouting, and a bystander catching it on tape and posting it on YouTube. It seems social media is not a cure for Genovese syndrome.

“I grew up there, my mom still lives there, and as an African-American, it just makes me sad to see it all go down in my neighborhood,” Whitney said.

The video rekindled tensions, racial or otherwise, and launched another round of finger pointing in the gay community. On one side, the mostly white local residents and business owners who cited crime as the main concern and went insofar as to creating a Facebook page, Take Back Boystown. On the other side, the urban youth advocates who defend the Center on Halsted’s community services for queer kids of color.

Ideas, In Case You Missed It »

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If you’re reading these words with unmelted corneas, it’s from somewhere less hot than eastern North America – the Sahara perhaps, or the inside of a post-meltdown Fukushimi Daiichi reactor, or the space between Marcus Bachmann’s superego and groin at a college wrestling tournament. If so, congratulations on being in a place where wearing more than briefs is as comfortable as it is socially mandated: TNG has been naked in its unairconditioned bedroom all day eating Otter Pops and debating whether or not a 110 degree heat index is nature’s way of telling us we should shave our chest hair, and is terribly envious of you. Seriously – it smells like water buffalo have been fighting in here.

As we sweatily regret not being able to work cultural references to “Disco Inferno” and “Paris is Burning” into this week’s Week in Review, check out some highlights from the past seven days’ content:

Politics »

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To be sure, acting out is unhealthy and oftentimes illegal. However, it is understandable in this context. It is the responsibility of those with resources, not only money but common sense and decency, to make all areas welcoming to our gay kids. It is also our responsibility to let all community members know that illegal acts, particularly violence, can result in jail, prison, and sometimes even disability or death. People who violate these shared social norms against violence have to face the penalty, whether the violence occurs on the south side or the north side and this must be made clear in a healthy way. A healthy way in this instance would be an avenue that lets these kids know that if they think it is bad here, it is even worse in jail and that the inequality they experience now will be much worse with a criminal record. These are the facts. We need to take an honest inventory of our city and our gay community and confront the social problems we see head on with common sense and inclusivity. We are all a part of that sometimes silly rainbow, made up of a diversity of colors, cultures and voices. Let’s take care of our own wherever they live in order to make our entire community a safer, healthier environment and make racism and homophobia relics of the past.

Columns, Not Your Average Prom Queen, Place »

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

The area of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood nicknamed Boystown has evolved over time into a gay Mecca. It is a part of the city where men holding hands on the street is commonplace, and most businesses proudly display HRC or rainbow stickers in the windows. It is the home to the annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Gay bars and clubs are a part of the draw, but the neighborhood is also home to a beautiful LGBT community center that offers meeting space, programming and events. Unfortunately, for the same reasons that make Boystown a great place to visit, this gay watering hole is host to much more serious LGBT related issues.

Pride »

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June 4th was the SlutWalk through Chicago’s Loop. At Milwaukee’s PrideFest the week after, this author’s “Chicago SlutWalk” t-shirt inspired Wisconsinites to get involved their own SlutWalk (in Milwaukee on August 13). The popularity of this movement, which has extended around the world, signifies a human readiness for change.

Civil Rights, Ideas »

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This week marked an historic moment for civil rights in Illinois, and another step closer to legal equality for the LGBT community in the United States. On Wednesday, June 1, civil unions for partners of the same sex became legal in Illinois (including the option for couples of the opposite sex, as well). It became legal for couples to apply for their licenses on Wednesday, and after a 24-hour waiting period, were able to have their civil union ceremonies.

Pride »

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As the snow melts and spring approaches, however unwillingly, Pride Month looms over the horizon. For queer people across the country – world, even! – it’s the highlight of the year. June can’t come soon enough and it’s almost always too short.

Columns, Ideas, Not Your Average Prom Queen, Politics »

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

While I was in downward dog last night, Chicago elected a new mayor. In many cities, the mayoral turnover rate, like the turnover rate of most elected officials, is rather high – but in Chicago, we like our dynasties. Mainly the early 90’s Champion Chicago Bulls, and the Daleys. A good chunk of the “corrupt politics” label is often attributed to this long-time powerful Chicago family, but as Richard M. Daley ended his more than 20 year reign, former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel landslided his way into Chicago’s top spot.

How do we know Rahm will be good for Chicago’s LGBT Community?

Not Your Average Prom Queen, Place »

Photo Credit: LFM Photography

Whether or not we want to admit it, a good percentage of us city-lovin-car-free-care-free city gays will eventually end up in the burbs like everyone else. We’ll desire pets, kids, cars and home-ownership. We’ll be sick of riding the bus, or paying too much for groceries, or iffy heat in our noisy apartments. We’ll stop thinking of gay-and-suburbs the same way many of us think of gay-and-conservative or gay-and-Catholic. We’ll do like the breeders do.

The question is not whether it will happen to some of us, the question is: Will we survive?